Thursday, July 14, 2005

Afternoon ritual

Originally uploaded by AviatorDave.
Hugh the cat has come to expect a jaunt outside every afternoon when I get home. He's an indoor cat, but when I moved here I relaxed the rules and let him go out on the front porch on occasion. (Hugh is declawed, he used to live with another declawed cat; and he's a bit too old to defend himself against younger, armed cats.)

He's not very brave, but over time he cautiously extended his comfort zone to the bottom of the steps, and then into the shrubbery; at which point I would usually retrieve him. When Gail came to live with us, he found a new accomplice; she was home during the day, and he found her to be more pliable at the front door.

So now the afternoon sequence of events has changed. I still get a warm greeting at the back door as before; and I am still expected to quickly fill the food dish, which is invariably empty. But once Hugh sees that supper is served, he knows that the next task on my checklist is to open the front door and get the mail, and he dashes past me to go for a prowl.

I'm sure he can smell the other neighbourhood cats; Bailey, the all-black cat from across the street was sitting on our front stoop when I left this morning. But I don't leave him outside unsupervised, lest he have a run-in with another animal. I don't think he would go as far as the road; so far, he has kept his stalking very close to the house.

Today I stalked him with my camera, but he usually ignores me; far too busy looking and sniffing around like a coonhound. But he finally came over to where I was lying under the magnolia, and I caught him intently watching a city bus go up our quiet street.